Intellection: Think Tank



When I was in college, I took a writing class which required a 500 word essay to be completed every week.  Like all good students, I'd wait until Sunday afternoon to start this paper - which was always due on Mondays.  Early in the semester, I found a special spot in the campus library where my thoughts seemed to flow magically.  Like a superstitious guy with a lucky team jersey on game day, I'd migrate to that same spot every Sunday afternoon and wait for my thoughts to flow.

For me, it is that first paragraph which opens the literary floodgates.  Sometimes the concepts and stories form quickly while other times it can take quite a while.  Selecting and focusing on a unique StrengthsFinder Talent Theme for this blog each week accelerates the creative process - like starting the 4th Quarter with a 20 point lead.

Nowadays, my library cubicle "think tank" has been replaced by a literal tank - a lap pool.  The process is simple; select a Talent Theme that I have not yet featured, jump into the lap pool, swim 50 laps and emerge with a story.

I credit two forces - one physical and one cerebral - for making this work.  The physical force is my Apple Watch, which is waterproof and counts both my time and laps.  Being an Achiever (#5), I desire the satisfaction of swimming at least 50 laps per workout.  In the past, I'd track the laps in my head.  I discovered that I cannot accurately count and think at the same time.  The Apple Watch 2.0 is like a power pack which releases my thoughts to swim freely as it tracks my progress with ease.

The cerebral forces at play are my StrengthsFinder Talent Themes.  In the first 10 laps, I credit Strategic (#1), Ideation (#2) and Futuristic (#3) for combining together to help land on a story to tell.  After that, it is all Intellection.  

Intellection ranks #21 on my list of StrengthsFinder Talent Themes.  Twelve percent of people who have taken StrengthsFinder globally have this Talent Theme in their Signature "Top 5".  Based on it's 21st position on my chart, it should technically be considered a "Responsive" theme - one I call up from the minors when the going gets tough.  However for me, I would consider Intellection a "Dominant" theme as I find myself using it all of the time.  Like a great pairing of wine with a meal, Intellection is the perfect compliment to my talent trio of Strategic, Ideation and Futuristic.

Put simply, people with Intellection talents like to think.  They like to exercise the muscles of their brain and are generally introspective.  This introspection gives them time to reflect and ponder which leads to wisdom and clarity.  Wherever it leads them, their mental "hum" is a constant in their lives. The theme of Intellection does not dictate what they are thinking about - that depends on their other strengths.

People with Intellection can serve as sounding boards to help others stretch to discover new ways to solve problems or enhance the quality of their work.  Thinking is doing.  Our Talent Themes are less about who we are and more about how we get to our end results.  If your mind is always "thinking" you likely are blessed to have Intellection as a Signature or Dominant Theme.  Find your own "think tank" (like my lap pool) where your thoughts are undisturbed and can swim freely.


People with the Talent Theme Intellection appreciate intellectual discussions.  Here are some thought starters to help them optimize their special talent;

* Have them schedule time to think deep and think often.  For people with Intellection, time for pure-thinking is productive time where they will gain clarity and self-confidence. 

* Don't hesitate to challenge their thinking.  They will not be threatened by this - on the contrary they will take it as a sign that you are paying attention and will be stimulated by it.

* People with Intellection take time to think.  They should explain to others that they require time for introspection.  This might appear to others that they are slow to act, however the deep thinking is productive behavior which often results in great ideas, clarity and wisdom.


Dan is currently serving 20 years to life as the Sr. Director of Destination Experiences at Universal Orlando Resort.  He prefers white-water rapids over data lakes and lists Ideation, Futuristic and Positivity amongst his signature talents.    Find him on Twitter @dpddonovan and Instagram @strengthszone  

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